Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD
Was a Candidate For U. S. Senate Florida 2016
Dear BOE Members,
Several weeks ago, my guest was Bobbie Bean. The night of the interview, the station had a technical problem and we were cut off, so Bobbie will be back tonight at 7 p.m.
http://media.naplesnews.com/media/img/photos/2010/10/30/101029NS-Bean,Bobby_t160.jpgBobbie Bean wrote Shattered Dreams, Broken Patriot. Bobbie’s personal story is so relevant to us today in view of the violence that has taken over our schools and streets. Bobby’s own son was a victim of a terrible bullying act that destroyed his life as he knew it as well as the family’s life.
Bobbie feels his message is so important, that he is offering a download of his book on his website at: http://www.bbeanusa.com/
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y3jtn5-JL._SY380_.jpgImagine your child being airlifted to a hospital after being brutally beaten on school property thrice in two and a half hours. Now, imagine that you begin asking how this could happen at a school and are met with red tape and railroading. The school committee, administrators, and the Sheriff’s Department ignore your requests for information. Townspeople join in to retaliate against your family because you refuse to give up your pursuit of justice. One day, a makeshift fence appears across the road you have been using for years. You cut it to allow your wife’s car through. Within a few weeks, several Sheriff’s deputies roar up your driveway at midnight. One deputy holds a gun to your head while another laughs and pulls down your night shorts, exposing you in front of seven deputies and entire family. You are arrested for cutting a fence and allegedly letting your neighbor’s cow out. “Shattered Dreams, Broken Patriot” is the tragic story of a vicious attack by a town bully that snowballs into a series of horrific acts by a small Florida town. The newcomers moved to Sebring to build their American Dream. Instead, they discover how selfishness, corruption, and the abuse of power can easily conspire to destroy it. Unwavering in his quest for justice, the father, Bobbie Bean, eventually makes his way t the Florida statehouse floor to lobby for accountability, lost lives, and the dramatic passage of what was in 2008 the toughest anti-bullying bill in the nation.
To hear the show, you can copy and paste this link into your browser:
Show times are:
7 p.m. EST
6 p.m. CT
5 p.m. MT
4 p.m. PT
If you can’t listen live, you can always listen after the show is aired.
The Bean family story is about the courage, love, and conviction of a father as
he tries to make sense of his community’s response after his son is violently beaten on school property.
It also is a shocking example of how easy it is for public agencies, such as a school district and local law enforcement, to railroad justice and civil rights. To use the expression “bullying” hardly does justice to describe the nearly fatal blows inflicted to the head of this young boy.
But the inappropriate and inhumane response by the community was even more devastating for this simple, rural Florida family who, up until this time, was merely pursuing their “American Dream.” Matthew suffered three beatings on that fateful morning.
The third and most destructive was intended to silence him about the first and second beatings. He was told to keep his mouth shut “or else.” In keeping with this small town’s pick-updriving, Nascar-racing, steroid-driven and boot-kickin’ southern mentality, his father was bullied, too.
Bobbie Bean was repeatedly subjected to intense and coordinated bullying tactics by adults as he sought answers about how this could have happened to his son. Their intent was to inflict silence through punishment.
The school district, with county and state agencies, appeared to manipulate and withhold the facts in order to cover up the truth. The entire family suffered retaliation because of the father’s pursuit of justice.
Meanwhile, the perpetrator was publicly celebrated as a wrestling hero after the
incident—or more accurately, crime. There are even portions of this story where law enforcement appears to sadistically enjoy taunting and humiliating the Bean family.
As you read this story, it will sound outrageous and unbelievable. But having
followed this story for six years, and having read documents and reviewed evidence, I believe it is true.
The heartbreaking account in this book includes one beating on the bus and two others at the school within three hours. In my opinion, it is one of the worst-handled bullying cases within a school district on record.
What happened to the family afterward is indicative of a much bigger problem: Taxpayer-funded government agencies engaging in human and civil rights violations. The bullying and brutality became not only accepted, but celebrated, rewarded, sanctioned, and protected.
What a sad statement about the decline of ethics, civility, and accountability in American society.
I was introduced to the Bean family’s tragic situation in 2006 after my son
was victimized by a bully at school. A group in Florida had banded together to pass an anti-bullying bill—The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, which became law in Florida in 2008.
After exhausting all avenues to bring justice to their situation, the Beans also joined the effort to change the laws. Their shocking story was so moving, I began helping them any way I could.
As an advocate for the educational, civil, and human rights of special needs children in my own public school district, I had experienced and witnessed powerful retaliatory tactics. Such tactics are meted out to parents and their children when parents dare to question the actions or policies of a school district and its administrators.
I also became aware that the corruption and bullying tactics by entities tied to the school district in my own county actually were pervasive throughout Florida and beyond. When the general public hears about this kind of orchestrated retaliation by public entities, they think you must be exaggerating or mistaken.
It must be an isolated case, they say. Americans want to believe that school districts and law enforcement are sacred, trustworthy institutions—right up there with pediatricians and churches.
Yet parents requesting any of the federally mandated services for their special needs children, or accountability in a bullying situation, often wander into a
snake pit of cruelty, dishonesty, and corruption. I have watched countless parents
innocently believe they could secure for their child what they were entitled to
rightfully and legally.
These parents eventually discover to their horror that there’s absolutely no way they can successfully challenge, let alone win, in such a system. It is well-funded by taxpayer dollars, incestuously politically connected, and void of
proper state or federal monitoring.
School districts are like their own little governments: Their tentacles of power and resources extend throughout a community and beyond. This is not to say that some public schools aren’t handling bullying incidents appropriately.
These districts should be lauded for their efforts, good leadership, and
sensible approach. Such schools put bullying at the top of the teaching list.
They incorporate a Compliments Day, No Name Calling Week, or workshops, such as Challenge Day, into the school year to teach tolerance and appropriate social skills. They are proactive when bullying takes place, and they have appropriate consequences. They treat parents with dignity and respect when addressing their concerns. They are less likely to have children committing suicide, being injured, or acting out because of unaddressed, in-house bullying issues.
Most people do not realize that school districts in most areas are the single
most powerful entity in a community or district. It is easy for such a large entity to
bypass anti-bullying efforts and use money, instead, to create the “best” athletic
program in the region. They frequently are the largest employer and the largest
purveyor of goods and services.
They are politically interlinked with local and state politics, law enforcement, legal services, medical and psychological services, social services, county code enforcement, the chamber of commerce, and county commissioners. The system set-up is incestuous.
When unchecked, dangerous bullying of parents can easily take place. It’s not uncommon for parents to discover that their child’s educational and even medical records are falsified, destroyed, manipulated, fabricated, and sometimes forged.
If harassment, retaliation, and punishment don’t work, trickery or serious false
accusations can occur in an attempt to stop parents from pushing for their children’s rights. Parents may be falsely accused of abuse, sexual misconduct, mental health issues, and Munchhausen by Proxy Syndrome —a very rare condition where parents harm their children to seek attention for themselves. Lies may be spread to ruin the parents’ reputations, sometimes resulting in lost jobs, friendships, and incomes.
When they turn to the outside system for help, they discover limited support or
costly legal advice. This kind of ostracization and stifling is a form of psychological warfare that school districts and law enforcement are trained in when dealing with “challenging” parents.
There are even workshops available for state and school district administrators to attend led by firms, such as the Weatherly Law Firm, and psychologists and well-respected educators from universities. Instruction is provided on how to effectively suppress parental opposition.
We have become a society that’s barely aware of the many inappropriate ways our taxes are being used in public schools. I have experienced and witnessed the unbridled bullying of parents by school district officials who were protected by tenure and also sovereign immunity.
In simple terms, sovereign immunity means government agencies and those employed by them enjoy a certain degree of immunity from civil lawsuits. If you sue a government entity, such as a school district, most states have a cap on what you can collect for damages, no matter how heinous the behavior, act, or injury.
That further encourages misconduct because no one is held accountable or pays a price. And remember, public schools have millions of dollars to bury a “pesky” parent, without repercussions.
Who pays the attorneys that represent the school district, the expert witnesses, and all costs associated with such a lawsuit? The taxpayers.
Some parents think they can pursue their child’s federally protected rights by
filing a complaint with any of the designated state or federal agencies responsible for ensuring the educational and civil rights of these children. They are so very sadly mistaken. It doesn’t work.
Many times it only intensifies the harassment and intimidation and causes more retaliation. I have witnessed extremely disturbing and criminal retaliation against
professionals, such as attorneys or journalists, who attempt to assist these parents or expose the horrors of the system.
I have watched the toll of inflicted stress that results in destroyed health, marriages, and businesses. Such stress also causes bankruptcies, suicides, and mental health problems—such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You can read about all of these outcomes right here in this book.
The toll of this unchecked system on children is the worst of all. School districts that fail to implement good anti-bullying programs can experience high absentee rates.
Without good programs, harassed children become too afraid to attend school. Such schools are more likely to have children committing suicide or violent acts out of unbearable frustration.
What can be done to create a fairer and more humane system for the most vulnerable of our citizenry who are required by law to attend or send their children
to a public school because they can’t afford a private one?
Sweeping changes must be made by Congress that more closely represent the kind of civil, constitutional, and human rights we have come to expect in a civilized democratic system that supposedly sets the standard for the rest of the world.
There should be repercussions when school district administrators and other public officials harass, abuse, and violate innocent citizens who are lawfully protecting their children’s basic rights. Education reform is needed in order for each and every child to have an opportunity to fully and safely benefit from education, rather than be harmed by it.
Our youth are our greatest natural resource, and an investment in their future is an investment in our country’s future.
This book is dedicated to every child who has ever been bullied.
Also, it is dedicated to those courageous individuals who stand up for and protect children from such violence.
Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD
Was a Candidate For U. S. Senate Florida 2016